If you’re looking for a late-year escape from the frantic energy that so much of 2020 has brought, a quick trip to the hills of Central Alabama just might be what you’re looking for. A short drive southeast of Birmingham lies Pursell Farms, a 3,200-acre oasis of comfortable luxury and peaceful solitude that features a range of ways to pass the time — be that hitting the links, kicking back under the stars or jumping in a UTV for a mountaintop excursion.

The resort revolves around the FarmLinks Golf Club that David Pursell, a third-generation business leader, developed nearly 20 years ago as a living sales pitch for the company’s line of grass fertilizers and pesticides. David’s business model of bringing golf course superintendents to the course for three days, rather than dispatching salespeople, engendered a hospitality mindset that he and his team have perfected as they’ve steadily added lodging and activity options since selling the fertilizer business to Canadian company Agrium in 2006. One of the highlights: checking out longtime family friend Jim Nabors’ various gifts to the Pursells — one of them a Florentine Renaissance artist’s sculpture.

Sleep

The property’s original lodging option is the recently renovated eight-bedroom Parker Lodge, which overlooks the golf course’s gorgeous par-3 17th hole’s lakeside green. Groups can also stay on Masters Row, a cluster of smaller cabins that share a putting green and chipping course, or in the Architect Circle Cottages. Or you can go the more traditional hotel route at The Inn, which was completed in 2018 and overlooks much of the 18th hole and the Pursell family’s homes beyond.

Eat

The cozy Old Tom’s Pub features small plates, a wide range of drinks and a pool table donated by Jim Nabors, while The Grille at the Clubhouse has a full-service bar and lets you grab a quick bite before or after your round. Below Old Tom’s is Arrington, which features a farm-fresh menu developed by new Executive Chef Joe Truex, who helmed Repast and Watershed in Atlanta. If you can, have dinner outside and take in the last of the daylight retreating over the surrounding hills.

Play

FarmLinks is consistently ranked as one of the country's top all-access golf courses; a surefire highlight is the par-3 fifth hole featuring a 172-foot drop from tee box to green. If you like clays, head over to the expansive Orvis Shooting Grounds, the only one in the South and one of just three Orvis-operated properties in the country. To further explore the property, sign up for a guided universal terrain vehicle ride or rent a bike.

Relax

The Inn serves as the starting point for a network of nearly three miles of trails that meander between tall trees, along cattle fields and lakes and past the property’s pristine Hamilton Place weddings and events venue. You can also get pampered at the full-service spa, The Spring House, or lounge by the pool at The Inn. Nearby, enjoy a game of bocce ball or lounge by the large fire pit on Arrington’s patio

Photographs courtesy of Pursell Farms